Swedish Fish

Pickled herring is a Midsummer mainstay
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No Midsummer Swedish feast would be complete without pickled herring.

To make it, the two-part process begins with curing the fish in salt; the salt is then removed and the herring is pickled in a sweet-sour liquid made of white vinegar, water, sugar and aromatics such as onions, carrots and bay leaves.

While dill and mustard have been traditional flavor accompaniments for pickled herring, cooks are branching out with spices like curry. It's a whole new school of Swedish fish.

To learn more, read our story "A Midsummer Night's Feast."

Inlagd Sill (Pickled Herring)

Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen

Yield: 6 to 8 servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes, plus cooling and pickling time

Cook Time: 5 minutes, plus cooling and pickling time

Total Time: 15 minutes, plus cooling and pickling time


2 cups white vinegar

¾ cup sugar

2 bay leaves

1 medium carrot, roughly chopped

1 yellow onion, thinly sliced

2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns

1 teaspoon yellow mustard seeds

10 salted herring fillets (about 3 pounds), rinsed, soaked in water overnight, and drained

Minced red onion, for garnish

Finely chopped chives, for garnish


1. Combine all the ingredients except for the herring in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until the sugar dissolves, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the pickling liquid to cool to room temperature.

2. Place the herring fillets in a non-reactive bowl. Pour in the cooled pickling liquid and stir to combine. Let marinate for 2 days.

3. To serve, remove the fillets from the pickling liquid and pat dry. Cut the fillets into 3-inch pieces and transfer to a platter. Garnish with the red onion and chives and serve.

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